Michael Goodman, the owner of NW University Equities LLC, took out a quarter page last Saturday’s Arizona Daily Star excoriating the Tucson City Council for creating an overlay district to slow the growth of mini-dorm redevelopment in the University region. He supplies a nice little cut-out form for affected owners to fill out and mail to the Mayor with a claim for diminished valuation under Prop. 207. Then the mayor can place them all carefully in the special round file he keeps handy for such obvious astro-turf.
In passing any regulation of mini-dorm development, the City Council was painfully aware of the potential to inadvertently fall afoul of Prop 207 – itself the product of a much more successful astro-turf campaign by the ironically named billionaire New York developer Howard Rich and abetted by the woefully short-sighted Arizona Chamber of Commerce, whose members are apparently more than willing to swat flies on their noses with high-velocity .357 rounds.
What is truly remarkable about this quixotic campaign by Mr. Goodman is its tone, not its content. The content is the standard limitless property rights claims of the fringe right-wing, which have in recent years migrated into mainstream Republican circles like a metastasizing cancer.
But the tone is truly something to behold. You know how Super Heroes and Super Villians tend to be created by some thematic catalysm? You know, guy gets buried in a sand pit and hit with million volts and becomes The Sand Man. Well, apparently Mr. Goodman was caught in the explosion of a Libertarian reading room at the very moment that Milton Friedman and Alan Greenspan were performing a hot homosexual sex-magic ritual on their private altar to Ayn Rand. Thus was born THE OBJECTIVIST!
Able to ignore market failures with a single rationalization. Ready to fight predatory government bureaucrats by outsourcing their jobs to market-based entities. THE OBJECTIVIST stands fast in defense of the absolute divine right to extract the highest possible value from property. His only weakness is an inability to conceive that markets are the product of laws, not natural phenomenon.
Some examples of THE OBJECTIVIST’S principled defense of the oppressed landed class:
"The Arizona electorate WISELY RECOGNIZED the POWER HUNGRY NATURE OF SOME BUREAUCRATS, who try to control the lives of productive people and their property rights, and reacted by WISELY ENACTING "PROPOSITION 207" to stop these CONFISCATORY TENDENCIES. These people ANGRY, ENVIOUS OBSTRUCTIONISTS who, because they haven’t the foggiest idea of how to, or the ability to, do anything productive, can only JUSTIFY THEIR EXISTENCE through SOCIAL ENGINEERING AND THE REDISTRIBUTION OF THE PROPERTY AND PRODUCTION OF OTHERS."
The all caps and bold face delivery is not my addition – that’s original, 100% pure, crankitude. This is a Super manifesto if I’ve ever seen one. Bold ideas and heart-felt truths that can’t be constrained by mundane rules of grammar or sullied by copy-editing. It sounds like a few pages of Atlas Shrugged, wherein Dagney Taggart rants about the parasitical state while humping John Galt, got wedged into THE OBJECTIVIST’S brain by the explosion that created him. I love the claim that purpose of this ordinance is not to control mini-dorms from ruining neighborhoods, but simply to justify the existence of unproductive, clueless losers who live to redistribute other’s wealth. Priceless.
But it doesn’t stop there. THE OBJECTIVIST just keeps giving:
"WITHOUT PUBLIC NOTIFICATION OR EVEN PUBLIC DISCUSSION a new act of governmental confiscation was furtively passed, WITHOUT ANY REGARD TO THE WISHES OF THE MAJORITY OF THE ELECTORATE as expressed by last year’s passage of Prop 207. Certain Tucson officials recently, WITH STEALTH TECHNOLOGY, rammed through the passage of a new demolition ordinance DESIGNED TO KEEP YOU and the HIGHEST VALUE OF YOUR PROPERTY PERMANENTLY SEPARATED!"
THE OBJECTIVIST sees all! Even the STEALTH TECHNOLOGY for ramming ordinances that mere mortals cannot even perceive. Those damned confiscatory officials! They are so sneaky, they are even capable of passing laws furtively in a public meeting!
THE OBJECTIVIST understands the categorical moral imperative that developers must be allowed to tear down crappy old houses and replace them "productive, spacious, modern, light-filled, and energy-efficient" mini-dorms, pack them with brats, and extract the highest potential value from them (as long as someone else has to live next to it). The noblest and highest calling of man is to make a killing on mini-dorms! THE OBJECTIVIST has spoken!
"FILL OUT the form below with your NAME, ADDRESS, DATE, and the AMOUNT you feel you are reasonably entitled to & MAIL IT to MAYOR WALKUP
THE CITY IS SUPPOSED TO PAY YOUR CLAIM OR RELEASE YOU FROM THE NEW ORDINANCE. – EITHER WAY YOU WIN!"
Yes! THE OBJECTIVIST has determined what the city is ‘supposed’ to do, and surely that’s the last word on the matter.
One should take a moment to be properly appreciative of the fact that whether THE OBJECTIVIST is Super Hero or Super Villian, at least he’s not on our side.